Altoona police hand out hams instead of tickets

ALTOONA — Police in the western Wisconsin city of Altoona have handed out something different to traffic violators — hams instead of tickets.

WEAU-TV reports that an anonymous donor gave the police department $500 to spread some holiday cheer. With that money, officers partnered with a local Woodman's supermarket and went on ham patrol Thursday.

Officer Anthony Helstern would tell lucky violators, "Ham a Merry Christmas."

Helstern says they'd like people to understand it's not always the worst thing in the world to get pulled over. He says something good can come from of it, whether it's education about safety — or a gift.

One of those motorists jokingly asked if it was OK not to stop at stop signs anymore.

Helstern told him not to make it a regular practice.